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Cautionary tale: with physician ratings, caveat emptor

A recent article in Physician’s Weekly casts serious doubt on the reliability of websites that provide physician ratings. The article focuses on one particular physician, a cosmetic surgeon from California who had a “4/5” overall rating on several websites. According to the article, however, the doctor “apparently had no formal training” in cosmetic surgery.

That doctor was a concern of other surgeons, who brought his practice to the attention of California’s Medical Board. Unfortunately, timely follow-up action was not undertaken by the Board. While the doctor continued to operate, one of his patients died in a liposuction procedure as a result of surgical error. In another case, the doctor negotiated with his patient for a higher surgical fee while the patient was under sedation. These are but a few examples of the negligent (and perhaps even reckless) care that this doctor provided.

The article points to an outsized irony: Notwithstanding the doctor’s travails, including the loss of his professional license to practice (and his criminal conviction and incarceration for illegally selling medical equipment), he still commands high scores on two online physician rating sites.

That should certainly suggest to our readers in Ohio and elsewhere who are shopping around for a good doctor that a second opinion is more than just a good idea. In fact, it could be a life saver.

Source:  Physician’s Weekly, “Shady history hasn’t hurt cosmetic surgeon’s online ratings,” Skeptical Scalpel, March 10, 2014